I was visiting a person in Pawaki village in Peshawar. At time of leaving the area, my driver highlighted a few illegal “kunda’s” (hooks) being used to steal electricity by the nearby houses. On closer inspection I noticed that the electricity thieves were using a very thin, low quality wire to steal electricity directly from the main line, while the illegal wire was hidden in a nearby tree and passed on the ground, to avoid detection. Villagers were walking past the wire on the ground, which was a serious health hazard, while the illegal connection was even visible to an illiterate driver, who was waiting by the road for a few minutes.
This incident highlights my assumption that electricity theft can only be achieved with the help of the local line man or WAPDA employee. If illegal hooks are visible to everyone, than why cannot the line man also see them? It is mostly because the line man himself is a resident of the area, and he helps the locals by looking the other way.
Therefore if WAPDA is serious about reducing electricity theft, than they should create stricter rules for linemen. If any lineman is unable to reduce the electricity stealing by 5% in one month, he should be removed from service. Linemen of an area should not belong to the area which will ensure that linemen do their job and not get involved in corruption with the locals.
Similarly, electricity has become a basic requirement for everyone, and it should be treated as such. Rules should also include customer service capabilities to resolve issues of customers/users in two days, complaint mechanism against linemen, linemen area-wise contact details issued online. Similarly, no one should be allowed to remove connection meter or threaten to take away this basic requirement from anyone, as this is one of the reasons why the “bhatta” system has flourished in Karachi.
ENGR. SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,
Peshawar, October 15.